Day 42: What will become of Bitcoin in El Salvador.
13 gennaio 2022

What will become of Bitcoin in El Salvador really is hard to say right now. And it’s normal that it should be. We chose to come here to see for ourselves what was happening and we decided to do it very early. Only three months after the law came into force. In a historical period where the transition, of necessity, is at an embryonic stage.

We’ve done well. It’s incredibly interesting to see this unique experiment take its first steps. So it would have been silly to think, after a month and a half spent paying for and talking pretty much only about Bitcoin with anyone we came across, that we would have definitive answers. A clear and precise picture of what is happening and the direction the country is taking.

Human society is something extremely complex and multifaceted. The experience we are living has confirmed this once again. There are no Salvadorans. There are millions of different individuals, each with their own peculiarities, needs and expectations for the future. The local government has taken on a great responsibility. It has made important promises. Realizing them will not be easy. Just as it is never easy to be a trailblazer. Forerunners. 

There is much to be done. It is necessary to educate from scratch a population that is generally not very erudite, that has suffered a lot in the past and that has a natural distrust for all that is new. It is imperative to teach them a radically innovative technology, which can frighten even most Italians, for example, who are much more cultured and privileged. It will not be easy. And Bukele’s team better start doing it now, because so far very little has been done and there is no time to lose. We really want to think that the local leadership has the fate of everyone in El Salvador at heart. Even and especially of the last ones. So far it has not demonstrated this. But time will reveal to us the real intentions of this ruling class. Today, all we can do is take a picture of the situation as we have seen it and experienced it. And highlight the big and serious shortcomings in the path of accompanying the population to the adoption of Bitcoin.

We know how central the Chivo wallet is to government. We understand the motivations of a central government in wanting to propose a centralized application. The information that the state wallet provides to those running the country is a gold mine. Vital when it comes to the millions of expats living and working abroad. We are not shocked that this is the solution chosen by a government. It is perfectly in line with the top-down mentality and the basic needs of any form of authority.

A choice will need to be made though. There can be no middle ground in this. Educating the people of El Salvador, showing them the true nature of Bitcoin, its revolutionary technology, also means showing them a way out of Chivo’s enclosure. Talking to them about privacy, financial freedom, self-determination, means revealing to them that all of this is just a click away, simply by downloading a different application. We really hope, from the bottom of our hearts, that the total negligence shown by the institutions until now is not actually a way to blindfold people and keep them comfortably locked in Chivo’s potentially liberticidal ecosystem. It will be enough to wait to expose a bluff that has no chance of remaining secret.

But even then, in the worst case scenario, our impression is that it will be very difficult to keep people in the dark forever. Civil society is reacting and taking action. Already working on the streets of El Salvador are associations that were created to show everyone the true nature of Bitcoin, the extraordinary opportunities it can offer. And we are only at the beginning. Movements like these are bound to grow, to mature, to cooperate with each other. They will be increasingly effective and will be able to permeate better and better every social group, in every place. This is a revolution that comes from below and thrives in the slums. In the secrecy of domestic environments. In the word of mouth among workers. Among school desks. It cannot be stopped because, before being a technological solution, it is a precise political idea. It is freedom. 

Then there are the wealthier classes. Those who are better educated and more cosmopolitan. Even these, after initial wariness, are pulling their heads out of their shells and starting to peek. You can’ t ignore Bitcoin. She is the most beautiful woman in the place. The most charismatic man at the party. Sooner or later you won’t be able to take your eyes off him. His strength is the incentive. The promise of a simpler, fairer world. A new opportunity that is there, you simply have to want to seize it. 

So many people, like us, will come to El Salvador for Bitcoin. Those who do business, at all levels, are already realizing this. And what used to be just a child president’s trinket to them, they now realize is so much more. A new and powerful tool. One they can use to thrive. To transition to something better.

This thing changes everything and will outlive us. We may think we can control it, that we can train it. But it’s too big for us. It has a life of its own. It belongs to us and marginalizes us at the same time. And that’s the beauty of it.